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US senators push for new sanctions against Iran

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is pushing for fresh sanctions against Iran over what senators described as Tehran’s aggressive non-nuclear activities.

Senator Bob Corker, the committee’s Republican chairman, said Tuesday he is working to introduce a new package of Iran-related bills to address everything from the Islamic Republic’s recent ballistic missile tests to its alleged human rights violations.

“We are looking at ways of having a much stronger pushback on the violations that took place,” Corker said of his proposed sanctions in response to Iran’s missile industry.

As part of his anti-Iran package, the Tennessee Republican is also looking to renew the soon-expiring Iran Sanctions Act, a sweeping law to restrict Iran’s nuclear and missile activities through sanctions on the trade, energy, defense and banking sectors.

The measures, which are likely to come up later in February, are the latest attempts in Congress to undermine last year’s historic nuclear agreement with Iran which took effect in mid-January.

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez is also planning a separate package of measures against Iran “outside the nuclear portfolio.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (AFP photo)

Menendez has already co-authored, along with Republican Senator Mark Kirk, a bill to extend ISA beyond 2016.

Democratic Senators Ben Cardin and Joe Manchin suggested that new sanctions against Iran’s missile program could get Democratic support.

“It’s something I’m very interested in. That was one of the reasons I could not support the original deal,” Manchin told The Hill. “On the Democratic side, I think it will be very well received.”

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives voted Tuesday on legislation aimed at hindering the implementation of the nuclear accord between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

Lawmakers voted 246-181 to pass the “Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act,” which blocks President Barack Obama’s ability to remove certain sanctions in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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